By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Few Patriots sound like they’ve improved year-to-year as much as Gunner Olszewski.
Bill Belichick offered praise for the second-year undrafted wide receiver and converted defensive back out of Bemidji State, complimenting Olszewski for being way ahead of where he was as a rookie. And now it sounds like his progress is translating to the kinds of plays that catch everyone’s attention.
Olszewski made a highlight-reel quality catch during an individual quarterback-receiver drill, reeling in the ball with one hand over the top of his head on a throw from Cam Newton. Unfortunately there was no video allowed at that point in practice, but based on several reports, it was the kind of play that would get fans roaring if they were in attendance.
There was still plenty of video to enjoy from the early portions of practice, including quarterback and receiver drills. But it’s good to hear that Olszewski continues to make plays and get better. Read on for a full recap of reports and highlights from those who attended.
— Patriots quarterbacks go through their early individual reps:
— Patriots running back/kick returner coach Troy Brown coaches up the returners – by chucking pads at them:
— Wide receivers go through an individual drill:
— Sony Michel participates in a drill publicly for the first time:
— Cam Newton throws to Stephon Gilmore on purpose, as part of a ball skills drill for the defensive backs:
Patriots Training Camp Attendance
It was a camp-high for attendance, as far as public practices go. Among the notable names who returned were wide receiver Julian Edelman, running back Sony Michel, safety Adrian Phillips, and wide receiver Jeff Thomas. Veteran safety Devin McCourty, however, was a new absence.
Rookie tight end Devin Asiasi appeared to be limited after getting banged up during Tuesday’s practice, according to multiple reports.
Absent: DT Beau Allen, WR Will Hastings, S Devin McCourty, RB Lamar Miller (PUP)
Limited: TE Devin Asiasi, OT Yodny Cajuste, S Kyle Dugger, WR Devin Ross (sources 1, 2, 3)
— From the sound of it, Gunner Olszewski made the play of the day. Although it was in a QB-WR drill with no defender on him, Olszewski’s one-handed catch drew excited reactions from onlookers and impressed reporters. Julian Edelman calls him “Gun Show,” and perhaps that will stick if he keeps making plays.
— N’Keal Harry also made a nice catch, this one contested as he had CB Michael Jackson all over him. He’s been making impressive catches every day since returning, according to reports.
— Quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a strong showing in 7-on-7 drills, an indication that he won’t be going quietly in the competition with Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer for the starting job.
— Harry appeared to pull up after a drill, but got his hamstring wrapped and went right back in.
— Stephon Gilmore broke up a pass intended for Damiere Byrd, which excited his defensive teammates.
— Patriots owner Robert Kraft was a spectator for Wednesday’s session.
— Safety Terrence Brooks intercepted Cam Newton on a pass attempt to rookie tight end Dalton Keene.
— Rex Burkhead made a diving touchdown catch on a throw from Newton late in an 11-on-11 period.
— Laps: on Wednesday, it was the entire punt return unit that had to run after a miscue. First they didn’t have the right personnel, then they didn’t line up correctly.
We’ll keep curating the most notable news, highlights, and notes from Patriots training camp as it goes along. Be sure to follow Patriots play-by-play man Bob Socci for his reports and listen to his calls on both Zolak & Bertrand and Toucher and Rich right here on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at email@example.com.